The Election Commission (EC), in a first-of-its-kind decision, curtailed all electioneering in West Bengal by a day on grounds that the state government had failed to provide a level playing field to all candidates.
The EC’s decision came in the wake of Tuesday’s violence between BJP and Trinamool Congress workers in Kolkata.
The EC ordered that all campaigning must end by 10 pm on Thursday — a day before schedule. Campaigning for the seventh phase of the general elections was to end at 6pm on Friday.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the use of Article 324 by the EC is an “unpardonable betrayal of the Constitution” as the poll body has failed to maintain a level-playing field.
“Today is a dark day in the history of democracy. EC’s order on W.Bengal negates the due process under Art 14 & 21 and abdicates its Constitutional duty under Art 324 to ensure level playing field. This is an unpardonable betrayal of the Constitution!” he tweeted.
“Over 11 complaints filed with EC against PM Modi & Amit Shah- No action. Violence by BJP and intimidation by Amit Shah-No action. Now, permit Modiji’s rallies on 16th & ban all others. This is a shameful fall for a once independent Constitutional Body,” the Congress spokesperson continued to say in another tweet.
In a six-page order, the commission took the unanimous view that some “special measures are urgently needed to arrest the prevailing situation in these nine parliamentary constituencies” to create a conducive law and order situation to hold free, fair and peaceful elections.
Polling for nine Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal will take place on May 19.